by Corrie Wang
Published by Disney Hyperion Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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THE TAKEDOWN, Blog Tour Digital Assets

Title: THE TAKEDOWN

Author: Corrie Wang

Pub. Date: April 11, 2017

Publisher: Freeform

Pages: 384

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

 

Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club, a debate team champ, plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular. Kyla’s even managed to make it through high school completely unscathed.

 

Until someone takes issue with this arrangement.

 

A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible-take something off the internet-all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint. Set in near-future Brooklyn, where privacy is a bygone luxury and every perfect profile masks damning secrets, The Takedown is a stylish, propulsive, and provocative whodunit, asking who would you rely on if your tech turned against you?

 

Let me start off by saying that I REALLY LIKED THIS STORY. I admit that I signed up for this book because I could not resist the “hooking up with hot teacher” aspect of the plot. I was only minimally interested in the future/technology/internet aspect of the story. As a historian/librarian-in-training, I always have conflicting emotions about technology and the internet. But let me tell you, this book sucked me in like a stumbled upon episode of The Kardashians at I-can’t-sleep-so-I’m-flipping-through-channels-a.m.

Part Mean Girls, part Gossip Girl- this book was so fun and so hard to put down.

The author does an amazing job at creating the near future world in which humans have become appendages to technology and not vice versa. Humans are at the mercy of their devices in this carefully crafted story world, and there is a very creepy Big Brother vibe in the story. It gave me second thoughts about bring my cell phone with me into the restroom anymore *coughs*.

The main female character, Kyle, narrates the story with complete candidness and the kind of arrogance that you hate to love.  The mix of romantic and bestie/friend drama is perfectly balanced and gave the story such a realistic current that the younger me identified with. Although the story is set in the future, it really brought back memories, LOL.

The best part of this story, besides the integrated text-speak and the nostalgic memories of 1990’s high-school films and T.V. dramas that this book ironically evoked, was the compelling mystery at the center. I did not want to put this book down. I was addicted to it like most people are addicted to their cell phones. I HAD TO KNOW WHO WAS BEHIND THE MISCHIEF. In addition to the fun and engaging plot and storyworld, I loved the diversity of the characters that Corrie Wang so vividly animated in the prep-school setting.

This book is so fitting for today’s media and technology saturated culture. It will definitely have you thinking about your relationships with your devices and how much technology has embedded itself into your existence. It will also make you think twice about who you are both in private and public spaces.

This book is a super fast and surprisingly nuanced read. FIVE STARS, hands down. Did I mention how much I love the cover and the formatting inside? FUN.

About Corrie:

Corrie Wang is passionate about libraries, road trips, and eating all the food, everywhere. Corrie grew up in Buffalo but spent her formative years in Brooklyn, where one of her last paying gigs was managing a three-story nightclub on the Lower East Side. ​

She currently lives in Charleston, where she and her husband Shuai Wang own and operate Short Grain food truck— named one of Bon Appetit magazine’s Top 50 Best New Restaurants 2016 and a 2017 semi-finalist for a James Beard Award. The Takedown is Corrie’s debut novel.​

And fyi it’s pronounced Wong y’all.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE TAKEDOWN, US Only.
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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

4/10/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Blogger Post

4/11/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

4/12/2017- YA and Wine– Review

4/13/2017- BookHounds YA– Blogger Post

4/14/2017- Storybook Slayers– Review

 

Week Two:

4/17/2017- Dazzled by Books– Review

4/18/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Blogger Post

4/19/2017- MEREADALOT– Review

4/20/2017- Book Briefs– Review

4/21/2017- Savings in Seconds– Review

 

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Dark Metropolis (Dark Metropolis #1) by Jaclyn DolamoreDark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
Series: Dark Metropolis #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 17, 2014
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Add to your Goodreads TBR shelf.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N
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Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder's mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they're not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don't always seem to stay that way.

“Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.”

When I was 16, there was this movie that came out called Dark City. The trailer looked so nouveau-weird and mysterious. It looked like the coolest kind of psychological thriller. I went to see the movie and felt more than a little confused but still thought the film was a cool concept. That’s what Dark Metropolis reminded me of. Both have the same vibe and mind-bending quality to them. Check out the trailer below to see what I mean:

I really liked the idea of this story and was intrigued by the above quote. The “1930s-esque world” is what caught my attention.

While I definitely got the feel of the 1930s, I also got the feel of post-revolutionary Russia, The Great War and Victorian and Medieval England. There were moments that I had no idea how to imagine the story world and I was a little frustrated and a little distracted by that. But I thought the plot was creative and that the story line was unique. Ultimately, that’s what made me finish the book.

I felt like the pacing could have been given a little shove to keep momentum going throughout the main character’s, Thea’s story arc and that being said, I had a hard time following exactly who the MC was. There is a good chunk of time divided between Thea’s, our understood MC’s, arc and a couple of other characters.

I definitely think the book is worth a read and I’m curious about Glittering Shadows (Dark Metropolis #2). Have you read Dark Metropolis? What were your thoughts?

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Bad Girls Don’t Die (Bad Girls Don’t Die #1) by Katie AlenderBad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Series: Bad Girls Don't Die #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 21, 2009
Pages: 346
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Add to your Goodreads TBR shelf.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N
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Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents' marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it's all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening--to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey -- but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore?

A fresh and funny take on the classic possessed-doll-poltergeist story.

I love Katie Alender. Her writing is clever and carries that kind of quick-wit charm you see on the big screen or current television shows aimed at teens. I really enjoy Katie’s writing and her simple yet effective characterization. I first fell in love with Katie’s writing in her book, Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer. You can check out my review of that one, here.

Alexis is our narrator, and she is your typical teenage girl who soon discovers her younger sister isn’t just being a spoiled brat; she’s POSSESSED. Alexis is easy to relate to and unlike many characters in horror films, she’s smart and rarely made me want to slap her.

Kasey, Alexis’s younger sister, is a character we end up feeling sympathetic for despite her demonic demeanor. I LOVE when an author does that with a character you naturally feel like you should hate. I continually felt conflicted about Kasey, and I loved the dimension that aspect of her character added to the story.

While there is a thin thread of romance in this story, it takes backseat but promises to be more center-stage by the end of the novel.

Now he had turned his whole body to face me. “I’ve never met anyone like you.”

I felt an urgent, almost magnetic pull between us. It made my throat feel dry and airy.

“This is so weird, ” I said, but it came out as a whisper.

He studied my face for a moment and then smiled.

Oh God, was it obvious that my heart was pounding? It was like those scenes in movies where the girl thinks the guy’s going to kiss her, so she closes her eyes and puckers up. Except I wasn’t just puckering my lips- I was puckering my whole soul.

This book is filled with all kinds of wonderfully-creeptastic scenes that will make you want to sleep with the lights on. The world-building is nicely done, the pacing was reminiscent of a teen thriller,  and overall, this book is an entertaining and light-read that is definitely worth an add to your TBR list.  Here’s one of my favorite and most infuriating scenes from the book:

“Go to bed, Kase.”

“Why did you want me to come in here?” she asked, looking around.

Was she kidding? “What are you talking about? I didn’t want you in here… It’s the middle of the night!”

She slumped and leaned away. Her hand brushed the hair back away from her face. It was a gesture of elegance, practiced and casual.

Then she reached out to my arm. Her fingers brushed my skin. “We can be friends,” she whispered.

I felt a sharp burn and looked down to find four red marks across my skin, where she’d touched me.

“You know what?” I said. “I’m sick of this. Get out of here.”

Kasey stood up suddenly, and grabbing the yearbook from my nightstand, threw it at the wall as hard as she could.

“What–?”

Then, with hard eyes, she backed away and hit herself in the face.

It took me a moment to process what I was seeing- my sister with an angry red mark on her jaw- and by the time I realized what she’d done, she was huddled on the floor screaming at the top of her lungs.

 

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
The Hunt (Project Paper Doll #2) by Stacey KadeThe Hunt by Stacey Kade
Series: Project Paper Doll #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 22, 2014
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed From A Friend
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Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her. While on the run, Zane Bradshaw is the only person she can trust. He knows who-and what-she is and still wants to be part of her life.

But accepting Zane's help means putting him in danger.

Dr. Jacobs, head of GTX, is not the only one hunting for Ariane. Two rival corporations have their sights set on taking down their competition. Permanently. To protect Zane and herself, Ariane needs allies. She needs the other hybrids. The hybrids who are way more alien and a lot less human. Can Ariane win them over before they turn on her? Or will she be forced to choose sides, to decide who lives and who dies?

You can check out my review of the first book in this series, The Rules, here.

I’m just going to address Zane’s character first because he is so epic-ally SWOON WORTHY.

Honestly, I couldn’t say if I preferred reading from his POV over Ariane’s because it was wonderful being inside both of their heads, but Zane just melts me. Every.Single.Time.

The complexity of his thoughts and the candidness of his steam of consciousness is so utterly satisfying. Zane is a thoughtful and brave accomplice, and ever so loyal to Ariane. He’s basically Clark from Smallville. But a thousands times better. The intimate scenes between him and Ariane from his POV are so worth every moment spent reading this novel.

Zane’s POV:

 

She curled her fingers hesitantly in the collar of my shirt, and keeping her gaze fixed on me, she leaned in.

Her lips brushed lightly over  mine. So light, in fact, it felt more like one of those accidental mouth brushes when you go to kiss someone on the cheek and miss.

It was still electrifying, oddly enough, ramping up the tension and anticipation I could feel building between us, but I didn’t understand it.

I slid my hand to the back of her head, my fingers tangling in her hair, and angled my mouth against hers, tasting her deeply, showing no hesitation, no fear. It was easy. I didn’t feel any.

Ariane clutched at my shoulders, her breath escaping in a quiet gasp, sending a gratifying thrill through me.

Then she wrapped her arms around my  neck and pulled herself into my lap.

Blood rushing away from my head, I promptly forgot about pretty much everything except for her tongue in my mouth and her body against mine.

Ariane’s character is equally complex and candid, and while her confidence is increasing regarding her abilities and what course she is going to take to set things right, she is still struggling with insecurities about how she stands with Zane. Ariane still finds it hard to believe that Zane could like a strange breed like her, and there were so many moments in this story that I wished she had been reading Zane’s thoughts at the right time. Ariane’s character is so conflicted but ultimately courageous and considerate. I really enjoyed her struggle in this book.

And, OF COURSE, I have to include a steamy scene from her POV with Zane as well.

Ariane’s POV:

 

His hands were gentle on my face, at the back of my head under my hair, and then tracing a line down from my jaw down my neck, under the collar of my shirt and the T beneath it.

His fingertips skidded to a stop on the first button of my shirt, and I shivered in anticipation.

“Okay?” he whispered.

“Yes,” I whispered back, trying not to sound as breathless and desperate as I felt.

He released the button slowly and then moved to the next, again so slowly. Giving me time to think, to object.

But I didn’t want that. Didn’t need it.

I pushed his hands out of the way and he froze, an apology written across his face. I got my remaining buttons open in seconds, and I was struggling with my sleeves before he caught on enough to help me pull the cuffs free over my wrists.

I pulled at the front of his shirt and he needed no further encouragement, releasing the buttons as efficiently as I’d dispensed with my own.

 

There’s a lot of action in this book (romantic and otherwise *snickers*), and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time Ariane and Zane were running for their lives. In The Hunt, Kade addresses the complex question: Is it okay to sacrifice one person for the greater good? To lay down one life, to save multiple lives? And a question for anyone to ponder- Which part of yourself do you identify with most?  And which side do you let win- the good or the bad?

Stacey Kade’s writing has such a hypnotic cadence, and I just cannot express enough how much I enjoy her writing. Her characterization and descriptive prowess are like kryptonite to me. I’m destroyed by their expressive power. Okay, I’ll stop reviewing before I get any more cheesy. Just know- I flippin’ LOVE this series and Stacey Kade’s writing, and I think EVERYONE should read her books.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
The Ring and The Crown by Melissa De La Cruz + GIVEAWAY!!!The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 1, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
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Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N
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Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve? 

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. 

But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard. 

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.

 

 

Magical Realism in a historical setting makes me HAPPY.

Think “The Young and The Restless” meets ” Camelot” on steroids. TR & TC unfolds against the unstable historical setting of London during the Franco-British empire and Melissa De La Cruz immediately dazzled me with the sensibilities of her characters just as much as she did with the story setting.

There are several key players in this book that move around like pieces on a chess board, carefully planning each move in the name of duty, self-interest or self- preservation. However, the characters that stole the show for me were Ronan Astor and Wolfgang von Hohenzollum.

Ronan is an American girl with diluted noble-blood looking for love in all the wrong places.  Ronan is her family’s last chance to save their estate because they have run out of funds. After she’s shipped off to London for the Ball Season aka “find-yourself-a-rich-husband-season” she’s taken for a bit of a whirl that screams of Jane Austen-style confusion and hits-and-misses.  I enjoyed Ronan’s sometimes aloof, mostly calculating disposition especially when things go better than she could have ever anticipated.

Wolfgang aka Wolf made me pant like a Husky in heat. He was absolutely delectable and I want seconds. Wolf is the rogue brother of the heir to the Franco-British throne, and boy does he put Prince Harry to shame when it comes to brutish behavior. His dark-hair, light-eye good looks aren’t the only thing that make Wolf edible; his pension for underground boxing is the icing on the cake. Wolf is my FAVORITE kind of male protagonist in a story and I devoured every moment that transpired between him and Ronan in this novel.

Overall, I thought the pacing of this novel was on point and the plot was clever and well developed. For all the sparkling wit and glittering settings in this story, there were moments and sub plots dark enough to give this book a very realistic feel to the time period it is set in.

The balance between magic and history was perfect and made this a thoroughly enjoyable read. Sure, there are a lot of story-lines and family trees to follow, but you don’t have to be Sherlock to figure things out and keep up.

I think any fan of historical fiction/fantasy/magical realism/Arthurian legend/royalty will find this book wildly entertaining.

The  Ring and The Crown was AWESOME even if Melissa De La Cruz stabbed me in the heart at the end. It deserves a better review than I can give but it’s been a few months since I read it, so this will have to do.

ENTER TO WIN a hardcover copy below to experience the awesomeness of TR & TC yourself.

 

The Ring and The Crown
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The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey KadeThe Rules by Stacey Kade
Series: Project Paper Doll #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 23, 2013
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed From A Friend
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…

I think The Rules is secretly dedicated to all those Smallville Clark+Chole fans out there.

 

Judging by the cover of this book, I would have never guessed it was a Sci-Fi novel with an Alien- hybrid protagonist. Good thing I actually read the back blurb after my bestie lent me a stack of books because I was ready to pass on it. But, as any regular reader of this blog knows, I LOVE me some Alien/Human romance and action. The Rules alternates between narrators Ariane and Zane, providing a well-rounded reading experience.

Ariane Tucker is dealing with a lot more than teenage-angst and keeping up her grades. On top of being in high-school, (which is hard enough) she’s trying to hide any trace that she has extraterrestrial DNA by blending in beyond blurred lines. She needs to be invisible.

Ariane was created in a genetics lab for a government agenda and has been hiding in plain sight, just miles away from the facility that created her, with the man that helped her escape.

Forced to abide by a set of rules that will help her stay off the radar, Ariane has been forced to keep people at arms-length and has not had the experience of true-friendship or a romantic relationship.

Previews for the movie Lucy, starring Scarlet Johansson (bleh) totally remind me of Ariane Tucker, the protagonist from this book, even though Ariane is supposed to be extremely petite and pale, barely able to fill a ”B-cup”.

Ariane opens up a can of whoop-ass of telekinetic powers when she’s pushed to defend those she grows to care about in this story, and it was either imagine her as Carry or imagine her as Lucy, so I went with the latter.

Lucy/Scar Jo as Ariane
Lucy/Scar Jo as Ariane

Despite the monotony of Ariane’s life, she was a vividly imagined character whom I was able to empathize with throughout her daily struggles, painful memories, and new experiences. She may have been hiding from ”The Man” but in no way was she a coward.

After further reading, the mental image I had of Ariane switched to Chloe from Smallville, not only because Ariane is extremely smart and resourceful, but also because Ariane admits to having a thing for Clark Kent and casting him in a virtual reality game she plays to pass the time that she should otherwise be spending socializing with other kids her age.

Chloe/Allison Mac as Ariane
Chloe as Ariane

Now, let’s get to my favorite part about this book: Zane Bradshaw. Talk about INTENSE swoony-feels for Zane. He starts off as that guy we love to watch in teen movies- the one that runs with the popular kids and falls for the dorky-girl who’s like an enigma to him. But as much as I personally LOVE cliches, the relationship that unfolds between Zane and Ariane is beyond that. It’s unique and so, SO good.

Clark/Tom Welling as Zane.
Clark/Tom Welling as Zane.

Stacey Kade swept me off my feet with Zane in all of his six-foot-four, Clark Kent-esque glory. She really gets into his head and shows us everything that makes him tick. The romance that is kindled between him and Ariane starts out awkwardly but lands firmly on it’s feet by the end of the book.

The Rules started out slow but the pacing allowed for wonderful, thoughtfully crafted main characters. The author’s use of Deep Point of View was masterfully executed and really made me forget I was reading the book and not actually living the life of Ariane.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Rules and I am currently reading The Hunt because I couldn’t wait to continue Ariane and Zanes story.

Here’s a sneak peek of an intense moment between Ariane and Zane from Zane’s POV:

Her hands were cool and tentative at first, at the back of my neck and then moving with more confidence over my shoulders and through my hair.

Reaching up to touch her face, I could feel her delicate bones beneath soft skin–she never seemed fragile or small except for when I touched her. Her personality made her seem bigger, more powerful.

I slid my hand beneath her hair, which was heavy and soft and held the heat of her body, making me want to touch more. I tipped her chin at a slightly stronger angle and tasted her mouth, and she let out a gasp, her hands clutching tighter at my collar.

 

Excuse me, while I go reread that chapter. *Fans self like a hefty woman in a church pew on a Summer Sunday in Texas*

 

 

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ARC Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. ArmentroutDon't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 15th, 2014
Pages: 372
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

WARNING: Do not attempt to start this book at night before you go to bed. If you do, YOU WILL BE UP ALL NIGHT LONG. This book will not allow you to put it down once you start reading.

This book is about a girl who finds herself wandering down a road covered in blood. She doesn’t have any clue as to where she’s at, why she’s there and who she even is. She finds out her name is Sam and she’s been missing for FOUR DAYS. She disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, whom still hasn’t been found. Unfortunately  Sam’s memories of that night or any night before that are missing as well.

Once I started reading this book, I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. I lost track of time.. what only seemed like minutes instead were hours. I realized it was 2am and not 11pm and I had to be to work at 7am. I unfortunately had to put the book down for the night…. The next day I forgo my lunchtime cat nap because I HAD TO FINISH THE BOOK. WOW. This book is incredible. I loved Sam, we got to discover her as a person as she discovered herself. What she was finding out about herself she did not like and she decided she didn’t WANT to be the way she used to be. It even seems that maybe though she was a certain way before the whole disappearance thing, in reality she really didn’t want to be the mean girl that she’s been made out to be..Now is her chance to turn her life around and stop caring what other people think..and she does just that. 😉

Carson Ortiz is the help’s son…the old Sam doesn’t want anything to do with him, though they used to be BFFs once upon a time before High School Politics came in to play… Now that she’s a new person rediscovering herself, she’s finding herself attracted to him.
At first, Carson is a bit stand-offish when he’s around Sam. Once she finally convinces him that she’s not playing him, that she really doesn’t remember the way she was and she really does want to be friends wit him, he starts to thaw a bit towards her.

Her boyfriend, Del, once we meet him in the book he totally annoyed the crap out of me and gave me the heebiejeebies. He seems like a total dick and in the end..that’s exactly what he is. #TEAMCARSON

Though the old Sam wasn’t the nice person in the world, even to her twin brother, Scott, and his girlfriend, Julie, they totally have her back as she struggles to remember what happened the night she disappeared.

Now let’s get to the whodunit. NO, I won’t ruin it for you and tell you did it, but WOW it totally is the last person you thought it would be..and the reasoning for it was totally unexpected. HUH. Good Job, Jenn. I didn’t see any of that coming.. This book has you going around in circles going “DID THIS PERSON DO IT? Did Sam do it? OMG did he do it? OMGWTF THAT PERSON DID IT? HOLY CRAP I DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING!!!”

Yeah, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat til the very end. If you haven’t read it yet, GET ON IT NOW.

ENJOY!

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About Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout is the USA TODAY Bestselling author of the adult romance Gamble Brothers’ series, the young adult Lux Series and award winning Covenant Series. She pretty much writes everything—contemporary, paranormal, and fantasy. All of her books have one thing in common no matter the name or genre: kissing… and stuff. When she’s not busy writing, which is never, she’s usually hanging out with dog Loki, watching reruns of The Walking Dead, or procrastinating on the Internet.

ARC Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers + Alienated #2 Cover RevealAlienated by Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated#1
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 4, 2014
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Add to your Goodreads TBR shelf.
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Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://mereadalot.net/muzak/Britney%20Spears%20-%20Alien.mp3″] <- Click  the play button for this review’s theme song.
(Alien by Britney Spears)
 

 

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” -Bill Sweeny, Alienated

Na-Nu, Na-Nu! Calling all Earthlings! Pick up a copy of Alienated at your local bookstore today!
Na-Nu Na-Nu
Na-Nu Na-Nu

 

Check out my psychological analysis of interview with Melissa here.

From a distance, he’d seemed unremarkable, but up close, his appearance intimidated her. Taller than any of Midtown’s athletes, his fitted uniform outlined every solid curve of muscle in his chest and arms, the fabric straining visibly against his broad shoulders. One strand of honey-brown hair had escaped his clasp and fallen against the outside of his angular jaw, and when he glanced at Cara, her stomach dropped to the floor. It was his eyes that’d left her stunned- not brown like the rest of him, but the most exquisite shade of silvery gray. Holy crap, did they selectively breed for looks, too?

Why hello there, Aelyx.
Why hello there, Aelyx.

Aelyx (pronounced A-licks- Yes, that’s right.) is our main extraterrestrial hottie in Alienated. He’s a L’eihr participating in the exchange program and his Earthling guide is Cara Sweeny.
Aelyx’s kind believe they are light years ahead of the human race in every way, and he enters this exchange program with ulterior motives. 
Despite being an alien Adonis in the looks department, Aelyx’s hot appearance and superiority complex give Cara the chills. Their first meeting gets off to an interesting start, and Melissa Lander’s humor and wit shine and dazzle from the pages of this book as Aelyx begins to warm up to Cara and her human ways.

An involuntary smile curved Aelyx’s mouth. Leaping gods, there it was again–though he found nothing particularly entertaining about the girl, she’d already elicited this reaction in him several times, starting with the moment she’d removed her undergarments and revealed her bare, round bottom. Her skin was even paler than he’d thought possible, so translucent it practically illuminated the darkness, and he’d finally understood why humans called the act mooning.
Heeey, there Aelyx. I'm Cara.
Heeey, there Aelyx. I’m Cara.

(I’m flippin’ obsessed with Amy Pond from Doctor Who and think she would be a great Cara!)

Cara Sweeny is a firecracker. She’s at the top of her class and the top of her game when it comes to the debate team and juggling her home and social life. She’s a well rounded individual and was chosen to be Aelyx’s host based on these merits.

Initially hesitant to take on this new role, Cara quickly out weighed the cons with pros despite the problems it might cause with her long-time boyfriend and closest gal pal. The majority of Cara’s school and town are against this friendly ”alien invasion” . What Cara’s contemporaries don’t know about Aelyx and his race scares them, but Cara hopes to neutralize most people’s hate and fear towards the L’eihrs through blogging about the whole experience.

Just when I thought Alienated was going to fall short in the romantic department, Melissa Landers shocked my socks off with one of the hottest scenes I’ve read in a YA Sci-Fi  novel. It’s the kind of steamy and sexy that’s twice as effective because everybody still has their clothes on. It spiked my pulse and it was something different and refreshing than any romantic scene I’ve read in a while.

He gazed at Cara–sunset hair framing her scarlet-flushed cheeks, lips parted, eyes closed, lost in the moment. By the gods, she was exquisite. His heart swelled inside his chest. This human had captivated him, and her body’s response gave him hope that she felt the same way.

Alienated is Science Fiction and social commentary at its best– cleverly cloaked in one of THE COOLEST FRIGGIN BOOK COVERS I’ve ever seen. Alienated is the kind of book that you take to the restroom with you (Ughhhh. Yes. I just wrote that out-loud); you won’t want to put it down. Melissa Lander’s witty writing style and smart humor drive this book home in Tardis-style fashion. It’s just a book but there is SO much more to it than that.  Alienated will have you laughing out loud one minute and questioning your social norms the next. 

The world and character building are as vivid as the cover. Aelyx and Cara are as likeable and exciting as main characters get, and forget about your formulaic ”stock characters” – there’s nothing ”stock” about Melissa’s colorful cast of friends, family, and antagonists in this story. They are as brilliant as the MC’s and make for a fantastic and engaging reading experience.

If you didn’t already jump up and leave to buy a copy of this book in the middle of my review, than you can hop on over to YABooksCentral. Those lucky bastards got the coveted spot of ”cover reveal” for the second book in the Alienated series titled Invaded, and they are featuring a giveaway. Click on the cover for the deets.

Invaded (Alienated #2)
Invaded (Alienated #2)

 

Aliens are making their way back into mainstream media in a BIG WAY. The CW recently aired the pilot of a new show called Star-Crossed starring Aimee Teegarden and Matt Lanter. The beginning of this show was reminiscent of Alienated but had a darker tone.

star-crossed-premiere-monday-pics

Jump back 15 years and Star-Crossed reminds all of us alien enthusiasts of the Roswell High books by Melinda Metz and the beloved television show Roswell which still has a dedicated cult following.

Roswell DVD

And of course, we can’t forget the Lux aliens introduced to us by Jennifer Armentrout a couple of years ago. How do you feel about aliens? Do you prefer them to Vampires and Werewolves?

Lux

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ARC Review: All Our YesterdaysAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Published by Disney Hyperion on September 3, 2013
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Add to your Goodreads TBR shelf.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N
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"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Wow. This is one of those books that I don’t feel smart enough to review. One of those books where my words don’t seem adequate to express just how good it was. I’ve never considered myself a big Sci-Fi fan, but this book changed me. I always thought I needed lush landscapes and heavy romance to enjoy a novel, but Crisitin Terrill’s writing and lyricism has truly created a piece of ART. All Our Yesterdays distills, to it’s very essence, what a good book is all about. I felt as though this book read me. I was completely absorbed by the first few pages, and the story just carried me along until it was finished. This story sucked me in, and released me feeling like a different person with no concept of how much time had passed because I was so engrossed with the world Cristin created. It’s hard for me to break this story down without giving away some key points of the plot. Even reading the back synopsis didn’t prepare me for what I was going to experience in between the pages.  This book made me feel a whole spectrum of emotions, and left me reflecting on how the world works. What, in essence, is Time? If I could go back and change something, would I?  My review is more about the imprint that this story left on me, and a small glimpse at the three main characters. Just trust me when I say READ THE BOOK. You won’t regret it.

” “Shh,” I say. “Everything’s all right now. Listen carefully.”
I tell her she’s beautiful  and perfect and she’s going to be okay. I tell her she doesn’t need to change herself to fit in with shallow girls or to matter to someone. I tell her everything I wish I had ever known. I tell her I love her, and I realize as I say it that I love me, too.”
 
Out of all the beautifully woven lines in this story that painted a strong yet vulnerable psychological portrait of Em , the quote above is the one that moved things in my chest the most. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked at an old picture of myself, and thought those same things. How many times I’ve wanted to reach through to the other me in the photo and give that girl a hug and tell her she will be just fine…..Reminding myself to closely examine the choices I make now, and what I want to think when I look back on a picture of myself from the present. Em is the first person we meet in All Our Yesterdays, and I developed an instant bond with her. Cristin Terrill develops Em’s character in a way that left me feeling as if I could be that girl. I could identify with her and sympathize with her thoughts and feelings. Em is one smart chic in this novel, even when she’s internally scolding herself for being dense. She is a complex, perfectly produced character. Things haven’t turned out the way Em always fantasized they would. One moment, one fatal split second,  sets into motion events that became the defining choices of her, James’, and Finn’s lives. A small crack underneath the facade of a seemingly perfect surface, fissures into life changing territory and Em is literally carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. She shares this burden with Finn, her friend and neighbor in the cell next door.
Finn is that boy that we’ve all met before. He’s smart and funny, shy and vulnerable. He’s the one that will be there when it counts, and love you even when you’re in love with someone else. He’s the guy that will force you to be honest with yourself and see things as they really are. He’s the guy that we all almost always look back on and say to ourselves, ” He’s the one that got away.” Finn won my heart over almost instantly in this book because of his chivalry and self-sacrificing regard for Em. Something fatal and fierce brings Em and Finn close together, but something beautiful and bold is what bonds them.  Finn and Em first meet in this novel through their friendship with James.
James is the perfect archetype of ugly, dorky duckling transformed to handsome, athletic swan after puberty hits. James and Em have been friends since she first learned to ride a bike, and now that they are older the lines of platonic and romantic love have started to blur. James lives with his older, politically involved brother Nate since he lost his parents at a young age. When James befriends Finn, a fellow whiz kid, this shakes up the impenetrable bond Em thought she had with James. Em and Finn get off to a rough start, but it’s perfectly played out, and foreshadows one of the best things about this novel.
The personalities that Cristin Terrill paints on the canvases of  these characters left me feeling like an empath. I could distinguish with acute awareness the nuance of every vibe, thought, and emotion that they felt. Their conundrums, were my conundrums. Cristin’s pacing and sequencing of this novel are masterful. In another author’s hands, this manuscript could have been a confusing mess, but Cristin seems gifted at making the complex simple. Parts of the plot appealed to the girl in me who used to love the television show Sliders, and other parts of it appealed to my need for something psychological and deep. All Our Yesterdays has it all. Action, drama, romance, and revenge. This may be young adult fiction, but it serves as a psychological study of how key events in our lives can make us or break us.  How do we let the bad experiences in our lives shape us? How thin is the line between love and hate, good and evil? How can absolute beliefs blind us, and turn us into our worst fears? A common mark of a good book (film, movie, play) is one that reaches out and touches on those primal instincts and emotions that all of us have felt at one time or another. Some aspect that makes us see ourselves as the main characters, and identify with them. This book has that connecting element. All Our Yesterdays transcends it’s genre. Now, if only I could go back and read this book again for the first time. 🙂
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